The Barnstormers and the Blue Fish each chose an inning to score their respective runs on Monday night.
Lancaster picked up four runs in the bottom of the third inning, and Bridgeport scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning. The two teams dueled the rest of the game in five combined scoreless innings as the Barnstormers came out on the winning end, 4-3.
With the win, Lancaster is now a game over .500 with six games left in the first half (and a make-up game against Southern Maryland in August).
Charlie Cutler got things started for Lancaster in the third inning with a single. Blake Gailen followed the act with a single of his own. Justin Jackson then hit a double to right field that plated Cutler and got Gailen to third with no outs. After Kevin Ahrens and Caleb Gindl failed to reach base, Josh Whitaker came through with a two-RBI double. Josh Bell finished off the four-run rally with another double that got Whitaker home.
Bridgeport answered the Barnstormers’ big inning with a three-run sequence of their own.Leading off, Endy Chavez reached first on an error by ‘Stormers first-baseman K.C. Hobson. Luis An Rodriguez would then double, and the Blue Fish had runners on second and third with no outs. Jonathan Galvez was credited with Bridgeport’s first run with an RBI single that sent Chavez home. Josh Vitters was awarded an RBI single that got Rodriguez home and Galvez to third, but upon trying to reach second base Vitters was putout on a 7-4 throw from Whitaker to Jackson. The Blue Fish got their last run of the inning on a Jose Gil ground-out that scored Galvez.
After the two teams scored a combined seven runs in one inning’s time, Lancaster only had a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.
Lancaster did not panic, and maintained a one-run lead for the rest of the game. After allowing Bridgeport to score four runs in the fourth inning, Lancaster starter Mike Lee hung in there and finished with a six effort. Because Chavez reached first base via error and scored, Lee only allowed two earned runs on eight hits (no walks) with four strikeouts.
The Barnstormers bullpen also had a strong showing on Monday night. Kevin Munson pitched the seventh, allowing a walk and picking up a strikeout. Greg Smith got the first two outs of the eighth inning in his second relief appearance since coming to Lancaster. Pete Andrelczyk, pitching in his second consecutive game, got final out of the eighth inning, striking out Galvez with Luis Hernandez in scoring position on second base.
Things got interesting in the ninth inning as Cory Burns came on to try to notch his 12th save. Vitters reached first on a four-pitch lead-off walk to start the inning. Vitters would reach second base on a sacrifice bunt by Gil that was perfectly placed down the first-base line. Angelys Nina followed by grounding out to third for the second out of the inning. Adron Chambers moved Vitters over to third on a single, and with two outs the tying run was 90 feet from home plate. Lancaster manager Butch Hobson came out to hold a meeting with the infield as Bridgeport sent Luis Nunez to the plate to pinch-hit for Anthony Giansanti. Nunez hit a ball to deep left field, but Whitaker made the back-handed grab for the final out of the ballgame, giving Lancaster the 4-3 win.
With Lee winning his third game, his record is now over .500 at 3-2. Burns earns his 12th save, and Blue Fish starter Jimmy Patterson was given his second loss of the season. His record is now 1-2 in 12 starts.
Tomorrow night the Blue Fish and Barnstormers will face off in game two of this four-game series. First pitch is at 7:00 pm at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The pitching match-up will be Bridgeport’s D.J. Mitchell (2-1, 3.24 ERA) vs Lancaster’s Terry Doyle (2-3. 4.12 ERA).